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Public rights of way: Farmers advised to ‘protect’ land as trespassing surges

Farmers and landowners are being advised to protect their land from unwanted public rights of way (PROW) claims, following a spike in trespassing reports due to Covid-19.

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Public rights of way: Farmers advised to ‘protect’ land as trespassing surges

With a surge in the number of walkers in the countryside during the lockdown period, property consultancy Fisher German has warned farmers and landowners must act to protect their assets, in order to prevent a loss of control over their land.

 

The firm reinforced that once a PROW had been created, it would become increasingly difficult to remove or alter the route and therefore urged landowners to gain ‘expert advice’ on making a ‘deposit’ under Section 31 (6) of the Highways Act 1980, in a bid to protect their land.

 

Molly Dickson of Fisher German, said: “We have had an increasing number of landowners contact us during the pandemic about people walking on their land where there is not a public right of way.


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“And while farmers and landowners may currently see no harm in people walking across their land, this could result in a public right of way being created through long-term use.”

 

Advice

 

Warning of the negative impact new PROW could have on property values, alongside the damage to crops and livestock, Ms Dickson highlighted completing an application under the Highways Act ‘stopped the clock’ on new claims being acquired.

 

She added: “It is important that landowners seek the appropriate advice on how to lodge a deposit, including the application and renewals process, and other ways to help protect their assets.”

 

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